Thursday, 14 April 2016

Early Extrasolar Colonization II

Surely an easy means of faster than light interstellar travel is a pipe dream - unless I am about to be proved wrong by a laboratory experiment tomorrow or the day after? However, if we assume this common sf premise, further questions arise:

How many inhabitable uninhabited planets are there to colonize?

How easy would it be to transport not only people but also industrial capacity across interstellar distances?

Many planets are being detected and, in more recent sf, nanotechnology helps with the second question. Contrast Poul Anderson's Harvest Of Stars with his earlier future histories. For three planets in the Technic History, see here.

I am trying to find a remembered passage in the Psychotechnic History that compares cultural differentiation, and maybe mutual incomprehensibility, between extrasolar colonies with similar processes in earlier Terrestrial history. I thought that this passage was in The Peregrine/Star Ways but so far have not found it there. Any suggestions?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I certainly hope something like Pournelle's Alderson Drive in the CoDominium or Anderson's Technic History hyperdrive is invented SOON! Not likely, I admit.

We already know THOUSANDS of planets exist, most of them admittedly very likely to be unsuitable for colonization. But those planets are largely the ones EASIEST to be detected at our current level of technology. Terrestroid planets are, it seems, going to be smaller and more difficult to detect. Plus, on absolute terms, terrestroid are going to be few compared to uninhabitable worlds. Still, I think it is reasonable to believe there will be some worlds human beings can colonize.

Even given nanotechnology we may still see humanly colonized terrestroid worlds at least temporarily "backward" or primitive due to new colonies not having, yet, the capital needed for advanced industrialization. So, the examples you cited from Anderson's works in the link you gave (Hermes, Aeneas, Dennitza) might still give us valid examples.

Can't recall the passage you had in mind from the Psychotechnic series. I'm currently rereading "Starship," one of Anderson's earliest (1950) stories. VERY readable while still showing signs of how it's one of PA's earlier works.